Do you have the time?

In today’s fast-paced, automated world, it takes time to earn time. That is, the time of your customers. Whether you’re a new startup app, an online retailer or a consumer company, there’s great value in the time your customers spend engaging with your brand via your app or online.

Here’s a few tips for gaining your customers’ valuable time:

Take time upfront to build a strategy.

It takes time to get time. Make the time upfront to research your target customers and understand your best approach and offering to get them engaged and excited about interacting with your brand. Are they car enthusiasts? Fashionistas? Millennials? By understanding the motives and interests of your customers, you’ll be able to better strategize on how to engage them with your brand.

Inspire your customers.

Your customers are your friends and your posse. And, just like your friends, they want to enjoy your company and talk about you with their other friends. A great way to engage your customers is to inspire them to spread the word. One of the easiest ways to spread the word nowadays is via social media. Talk with your customers often about what interests them (and not just when you need something from them). And, inspire them to create their own sharable content using, wearing or creatively engaging with your brand. Think the Sharpie® “Write Out Loud” campaign.

Make moments.

Give your customers a reason to engage. Whether it’s the rollout of an upsell feature on your app or a way to bring your online store offline through an event, think of ways you can create experiences and opportunistic moments for your customers to engage with your brand. Tap into trending news or other relevant events; for instance, the Oscars or Fashion Week if you’re a luxury clothing brand. By creating moments, you’ll begin making memorable impressions with your customers. Today, customers want more than an app or product; they want fun, meaning and a good cause all wrapped into one!

Earn their trust again and again.

Above all else, be you…consistently! Once your customers fall in love and engage regularly with your brand, they are going to feel like they know your brand. Don’t suddenly do anything out of character. Take this week’s news about the changes to the Starbucks Rewards Program. This has customers pretty upset and likely asking themselves if they can trust that Starbucks won’t change the rules of the game again! Authenticity is key to building trust with your customers. You should also keep in tune with your customers’ needs and aspirations. Respond to their emails, phone calls and social media comments. Let them know they are heard and appreciated! The best thing your brand can do to continue earning your customers’ time is regularly reminding them – daily, weekly and monthly – why they do business with you. Are you an eco-friendly brand that supports green consumerism? An app serving a niche fan base where users can connect and build their own community? Consistently be and show who you are so that your customers can know you and trust in you.

Ask yourself these five questions now about your company’s brand:

  1. How much time are we spending with our customers?
  2. Do we know what they love about us?
  3. Do we know what motivates them to spend time (and money) with us?
  4. How are we giving them a reason to regularly engage?
  5. Is our brand being a good friend?

People build relationships with brands just like they do people – through trust, authenticity, consistency and quality.